Walking in A Winter Wonderland (of possibilities)
Hey, Y’all! Winter is FINALLY here! Well, Winter for the south at least. When we moved to Montgomery, Alabama from Florida in my 4th-grade year, I saw light snow flurries a couple of times, but it wasn’t until my junior year in college, that I saw REAL snow. I was so excited. I built my first snowman, and some friends and I got trays from the dining hall and had a blast sitting on them and sliding down hills on campus. Which opens up a whole new world of learning possibilities in the classroom. The after Christmas slump is real, so I’m always looking for fun winter activities that students will love and that I will love to teach.
I’m so excited to share with you my favorite winter resources and activities. These seasonally themed activities will keep students engaged in learning all season long. Cold or rain, sleet or snow these interactive lessons can still be used in the classroom all winter long. So, let’s jump right in!
Activity One: How Snowflakes Are Formed
This PowerPoint (Oh and did I mention it’s free if you subscribe to my free library resource below), is perfect for grades 1-4. How Snowflakes Are Formed, is a simple yet fun way for students to discover how snowflakes are created. This resource is a great way to kick start your lesson or Winter themed unit. Since this is a PowerPoint file format, there are so many ways to use it in your classroom. Include it as part of a whole-group activity, small groups, or even centers. Students can even view PowerPoint independently. It can also be imported into Google Drive™ and saved as a Google Slides™ file for remote learning. You can download it from my FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY by clicking HERE, or you can download it from my TpT Store by clicking HERE.
Activity Two: Learn About Snowflake Bentley
Until the Award-winning picture book, Snowflake Bentley by Catherine Briggs Martin was published, very few people knew who Wilson (Snowflake) Bentley was. Wilson Bentley was the first person to successfully photograph snowflakes through a process called photomicography. This process involves hooking a microscope up to a camera to take pictures. It’s pretty easy to do these days, but Snowflake Bentley took two years perfecting his process.
The book tells about the life of Snowflake Bentley and his passion for snow and nature. Wilson Bentley’s determination and perseverance were impressive and the book does a beautiful explanation of that. I love the woodcut illustrations and the sidebar information. If you are teaching Growth Mindset and snow in your classroom, this is a great book that demonstrates Wilson’s Bentley’s growth mindset and persistence. He persisted even after numerous failures and never gave up until he was able to take beautiful photographs of snowflakes.
CLICK HERE to view a great video about Snowflake Bentley. It is more of a documentary, but it has some interesting facts about the kind of person Wilson Bentley was. It has actual photographs of Bentley and some of his snowflakes along with interviews from people who knew him.
I created a literature guide to go along with the book Snowflake Bentley. It was the first paid product I ever posted on TpT. It is my baby. I have nurtured him over the years by adding to the file and changing fonts and clip art. I just finished a new complete revision and it has been dramatic. Snowflake Bentley has a whole new look, and I have added informational text passages about snow, but best of all, there is a digital version of everything!
The Snowflake Bentley Literature Guide combines Winter fun while providing students with the chance to practice their sequencing skills. Students can complete a class study of Snowflake Bentley, practicing vocabulary, comprehension, and cause and effect skills. This is a great opportunity to combine science and ELA with a winter twist.
Activity Three: Paper Snowflakes
Have you ever been given a set of instructions, that you just cannot figure out?! It’s the biggest headache and can be so overwhelming. I want to caution you when searching for instructions on how to make paper snowflakes. Be sure the instructions are for six-sided snowflakes. I’ve seen so many instructions for four or five-sided snowflakes which I feel is purposeless and defeats the whole purpose of the lesson. I feel like teaching students to create four or five-sided snowflakes is purposeless, and often defeats the whole point of the lesson. I have instructions for making paper snowflakes in my Snowflake Bentley product, but you can also have your kiddos watch a video to learn how.
***Be sure to check out this PAPER SNOWFLAKE TUTORIAL HERE. You won’t be disappointed.
Activity Four: Make Crystal Snowflakes
In honor of all things snowy, nothing’s more fun than making crystal snowflakes. You can read about how to make them in my how to make crystal snowflakes blog post. Kids love to make these, and besides that, they’re quick and easy to make at home or in the classroom and require very few ingredients – just hot water, Epsom salts, a pipe cleaner, and some food coloring.
Activity Five: Read About Snow
While reading about snow is a classic option, there are so many directions you can take this. I prefer to share fiction books with students that discuss the science behind the creation of snow.
Some of My Favorites Include:
I hope you check out these books. Your students will love them! I like to use them as read-alouds to introduce or even reinforce a lesson or concept. These great pictures books are a great option to help your students connect their love of reading and winter!
I love creating engaging activities for my students during the dreary winter months. If you find yourself in a slump, needed inspiration this season check out my Winter Resources or pin for later for more inspiration and engagement!